Benefits of long term planning for integration of Clean Water Act Section 404 permit mitigation and the Georgia Greenspace Program
The Georgia Community Greenspace Program, administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, establishes a framework within which developed and rapidly developing counties and their municipalities can preserve and protect community Greenspace. Wetland and stream mitigation banking, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with other federal and state agencies, in application of the Clean Water Act, Section 404, permit program, provides opportunity to generate credits in advance of actual impacts. Integrating these two programs by long-term planning at the local level may provide fiscal savings and environmental protection opportunity synergistically. Application of in lieu fee mitigation funds from the Wetland and Stream Trust Accounts administered by the Georgia Land Trust Service Center may help offset costs associated with land acquisition and provide permanent land protection through deed restrictions or conservation easements, thereby qualifying as Greenspace. Adoption and implementation of local ordinances may help establish the need and purpose of these local natural amenities.